Despite considerable competition and challenges facing the advertising agency sector, employment activity is up. This is according to data from online job aggregator Adzuna, who measures activity across all jobs on a constant basis.
With growth from around 556 jobs in 2017 to almost 900 jobs in January 2018, the digital agency space is growing rapidly.
Salaries have, on average, rocketed from under R300,000 to R380,556, more than 20% growth in just one year. Many industry experts see the growth in salary attributable to the increased hiring of developers in the sector, as opposed to paying for these skills through development providers.
Lee Williams, owner of Luminous Recruitment, a recruitment firm placing numerous developers, agrees. “More media agencies might be hiring developers to create better solutions, systems for clients,” says Williams, who added that this organically increases sales.
In 2017, a number of agencies were bought or sold in South Africa, mainly by overseas companies expanding internationally. These include FOXP2 in 2017, and recently The Jupiter Drawing Room, Machine, Quirk and Hello Computer. However, this is in an industry in a slight decline, as reported by Moneyweb in June 2017. Nevertheless, skills are in high demand.
Others mention the fact that companies still prefer to outsource their digital efforts, citing cost and efficiency benefits for larger, especially international, firms. Media agencies thus cut out the middleman if they offer these developers directly.
Traditional media agencies, however, report a higher average salary (R419,470), led seemingly by brand specialists and the above-mentioned digital-related positions creeping in. While this average is presumably boosted by the very same digital positions entering into the agency world, strategy and brand roles are commanding higher remuneration, according to the research done by Adzuna.
Mobile developers, hired to build apps for agency clients, are often hired on a contract basis, bringing home even more bacon, as these developer positions in media houses show, some at over R800,000 per annum.
Adzuna continues to watch various sectors closely, with technology-driven areas a strong focus. The highest paid and most demand position are repeatedly shown to require mostly engineering, IT and finance skills.